UNIVARSITY.ORG | Reflections on the past, present and future of nurse education: a personal journey
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24 May Reflections on the past, present and future of nurse education: a personal journey



Nurses work in health care environments that are challenging both in terms of the complexity of the health needs of patients as well as the number of patients requiring care. Technological advancement and changing demographics are resulting in patients living longer and with complex conditions that previously would have seen an early death. Thus increasing the need for nurses to expand and develop their scope of practice. Higher Education Institutions have a crucial part to play in meeting these needs through the implementation of innovative high quality pre-registration and post registration education underpinned by a strong evidence base informed by research.

Nurse education has seen major transformation from the development of the first training schools in the 1860’s through to the current university degree nursing qualification. This journey has not always been a smooth passage and indeed some may question whether the current approach is right. In answering such questions. This inaugural lecture critically examines nurse education through the lens of a personal journey that spans thirty-six years. It will explore the history of nursing and in particular the developments from the 1980’s to present day to provide a clear contextual background against which my journey sits.

I started my nursing career in Gloucestershire qualifying in 1984 and worked clinically in trauma orthopaedics, surgery and intensive care nursing. My academic interests revolve around health care ethics and professional practice and as part of my master’s degree in medical ethics I explored life and death decision making within intensive care. I have always had a passion for education and took up post in 1991 as a registered nurse tutor at the United Midlands College of Nursing and then Wolverhampton University. I have a wealth of experience in curriculum design development and delivery across pre and post registration programmes with a specific expertise in placement learning, clinical skill development and clinical assessment. Following the move of nurse education into higher education I was instrumental in establishing the first fully funded practice placement facilitator roles and developing robust partnership working frameworks to facilitate placement learning. Since moving to Keele University in June 2007

My recent research focus has been around the student experience and in particular student attrition, belonging and retention which were complimented by me being the west midlands HEI representative on the DH national group looking at managing student attrition during 2009. More recently my research has evolved into exploring the development of resilience within student’s but with a particular focus on their resilience in managing challenging issues during clinical placement.
I became the Head of School in September 2010 and have led the growth and development of the school, through the expansion of our educational portfolio alongside the development of research capacity and capability. In addition to this growth a focus on staff and student experience has seen an increase in satisfaction with a steady climb up the rankings of major league tables.

I have been a member of the Council of Deans for Health since 2010 providing expertise around student retention which culminated in a national workshop identifying good practice in promoting retention. I am an active member of the Royal College of Nursing Education Forum since 2011 taking up chair of this in December 2015. Within this role I am able to influence nurse education on a national scale and am committed to developing a vibrant and engaged forum that reaches out to its wider membership.

As a leader within the university I adopt a collaborative approach having been pivotal in the faculty executive leadership team and in particular leading on the engagement with local and regional NHS groups. I am committed to understanding how we can improve the education we offer and am chair of the university quality assurance and enhancement committee and have a university strategic role in quality and enhancement.

Since February 2017 I have taken on the role of interim PVC and Faculty Dean for the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Keele University.

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